Eco-Design future's solution developed with the Al-Attar primary school students
While the world is facing the most dangerous risk of climate changes, deforestation rates are still alarming. More than 10 million hectares per year are lost in the world according to the FAO, most of the trees are cut to satisfy the human wooden needs. Trees and forests with other natural resources are the mandatory ingredient to continue human life on earth. To survive the future, we all must adhere to measures to preserve forests and to save natural resources from abusive usage and overconsumption.
Art and Design practices can play an imminent role proposing eco-healthy trends that human society could rely on to face climate change issues. Art has the responsibility today to inspire and to motivate human society on its way for a sustainable future. Art has the power to challenge our perceptions and to develop new perspectives on sustainability and climate justice. Human society should invest in the arts and cultures as part of the crisis solution.
During the last ten years I conducted multiple art residencies with an objective to find new alternatives for cutting trees to produce our human wooden needs. From my perspective, I believe that we should rely on sustainable materials and on recycling to produce our wooden needs instead of cutting trees.
Part of my artistic research is centered on indigenous forms of knowledge and ways of living to propose alternative models of climate justice in the world. Through my research I developed a portfolio of alternative solutions, but the difficult point was to reach people, and to communicate my way of thinking with them. Part of my work was featured in the London Design Biennale in June 2021, a session called ”Design in an age of crisis”, but that couldn’t help me to exhibit my work in my country. In October 2021, Hivos announced support for art projects dealing with climate justice in my country Tunisia via the VCA program. I was very honored to see my proposition “Climate Justice in Sejoumi” accepted with my partner AAO/BirdLife in Tunisia.
The project began its implementation in April in the primary school Al-Attar as the first project station. Al-Attar is an area of the wetland Sejoumi, near to the capital Tunis, where the state of Tunisia installed the biggest wastes center in the country. Since the drop off center was installed the villagers' health, and wellbeing are endangered. The center accepts every day between 2700 to 3000 tons of waste coming from all the corners of the capital city, and buried near to the villagers’ homes.
The workshop had an objective to design an alternative solution to the school table made from hardwood. We concluded with the students after analysis sessions that cutting trees to build the schools table is not compliant with a sustainable future, and that we should find alternative models.
The kids should be aware about the environmental dangers we are facing, and they should be initiated to the situation at their early age. We worked with our partners to provide an introduction to climate changes adopted to the primary school. The kids become more conscious of the problem of sacrificing trees for our needs, and of the danger of such practices in the future. Finding new conceptions based on sustainable resources we could rely on to satisfy our wooden needs is the way to save our forests today.
We introduced to the kids the idea of building a student table using the tree waste. The exercise began by finding the materials of our project, because it was not yet the season to prune trees in the month of May. The school was near a waste management center, so we found our way in waste recycling, thus preventing harmful gas release caused by the fermentation of the thrown natural material. Any waste is a failure.
After a month of daily work with almost the 108 students of the school, they all participated in the debates, the design phases, and in the manual. The kids were very imaginative during the workshops, and showed an impressive motivation for handwork. They learned through the workshop how to satisfy their wooden needs by only using tree's waste without harming life and cutting trees.
Imagining the future is a very important exercise for the kids. They should start thinking and adopt climate solutions at an early age. Youth in general is deprived of an environmental education, and they can’t easily access culture, and participate in the decision making process in the Tunisian society, despite the important role they can play in solving the crisis problems.